|Daphne Odjig, Thunderbird Woman (1971)|
The powerful imagery of Daphne Odjig’s Thunderbird Woman is used as an icon and a symbolic starting point for this iteration of Wood Land School. It articulates Indigenous agency, the roles of guardianship and protection, and the notion of transformation. Isaac and Linklater will posit this agency in moving between rural and urban spaces, institutions, ideas, forms, and within an articulation of their respective contemporary art practices.
“We see Thunderbird Woman as a conceptual site of tremendous potential for our work at the Wood Land School. Over three weeks, we will read texts and watch ﬁlms that complement the ideas situated in Thunderbird Woman. We hope the engagement with these materials and ideas will spur critical dialogues, long discursive situations, long takes, and artworks that culminate in an exhibition at its end.”
Wood Land School is an ongoing project with no ﬁxed location or form. It seeks critical engagements within the realms of representation, ﬁlm, contemporary art, land and politics in Turtle Island and beyond. Each iteration of Wood Land School carries forth with it a commitment to address the lack of structural inclusion, both historically and in the now, in a multiplicity of institutional spaces. It is a conceptual and physical space for Indigenous people, with Indigenous people deciding its directions, structures and functions. An important and vital component of the structure of Wood Land School since its beginning is the inclusion of non-Indigenous people into its fabric, as the faculty wants to include and not exclude those that wish to engage with the complexities of these aforementioned issues. Wood Land School was started in 2011 with the making of a small exhibition of works selected by Duane Linklater in a small studio space located above a store on the Nipissing First Nations in Ontario. Since then it has taken many forms such as residencies, seminars, ﬁlm screenings and discursive happenings, in places such as The Banff Center for the Arts, Art Metropole, and Simon Fraser University. Currently there is a book of criticism being made with the support of Or Gallery Vancouver and SFU Galleries.